Canadian Bishops Urge the Faithful to Defend Marriage

In Pastoral Letter Issued Ash Wednesday

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OTTAWA, FEB. 10, 2005 ( The Canadian bishops’ conference has reaffirmed its support for traditional marriage and asked Catholics to do likewise by notifying elected officials.

In a pastoral letter, the president of the episcopal conference, Archbishop Brendan O’Brien, wrote: «The Catholic bishops of Canada are united in their belief that marriage is the unique, essential and fundamental relationship of a man and a woman.»

«For this reason, the bishops of Canada reaffirm their opposition to the proposed redefinition of marriage, as they have already declared on a number of occasions, including statements by individual Canadian cardinals and bishops, in addition to those of many other Canadian citizens,» he stated in the letter issued Ash Wednesday.

In an attempt to rally the faithful to take action, Archbishop O’Brien wrote, «As Canadian citizens, you not only have the right but the responsibility to inform your political representatives and government leaders of your convictions about marriage and the social issues that are involved in its definition and nature.»

He stressed the negative, social affects of redefining marriage to including same-sex unions, saying, «The proposed redefinition of marriage not only clashes with the faith and practice of Catholics and other Canadians, but also has enormous civil and social implications for everyone.»

Responding to arguments in favor of redefining marriage, the archbishop of St. John’s wrote, «Instead of uniting Canadians in respect for the dignity of homosexual persons, the proposed redefinition of marriage is divisive in its attempt to impose uniformity in pursuit of equality.

«The proposed redefinition is not a step in evolution but a radical break with human history and with the meaning and nature of marriage.»

Archbishop O’Brien also addressed the Supreme Court’s take on the issue: «The Supreme Court of Canada did not say that the proposed legislation of the government to redefine marriage is necessary to conform with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, nor did it suggest that the traditional definition of marriage is contrary to the Charter.»

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